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Top 10 wines in the UK press

Uco Valley Malbec 2013

Terry Kirby, writing for The Independent, picked this Argentine Aldi red as his “bargain basement” wine calling it “fantastic value” with a “long finish to savour”.

He said: “This is remarkable and justly multiple-award-winning: succulent, juicy, fresh notes of ripe blackberries and plums, considerable depth of flavour and a long finish to savour. Tastes as good as something twice the price, so fantastic value from Aldi again.”

Price: £5.99, Aldi

MacMurray Russian River Valley Pinot Gris 2013, California

Kirby also recommended this “well-balanced” Californian Pinot Gris from Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley.

He said: “There is a definite autumnal tone to this well-balanced Californian – flavours of figs, ripe peaches and apricot and a hint of honey and spicy smoke underneath, but the whole package is nicely restrained. A good match for scallops, all prime white fish and light chicken dishes – but beware the 14.5% abv.”

Price: £11.99, Tesco

Wynns Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Australia

“There’s no doubt that Coonawarra is one of the great terroirs of Australia, and synonymous with the Cabernet Sauvignon grape”, wrote Tom Cannavan in the Huffington Post, picking this 2008 vintage from Wynns as a case in point.

He said: “This comes from one of the longest established quality producers, and is in fact the 53rd release of this wine, made from the highest quality 20% of the harvest. In some ways it’s a real blast from the past with a massive hit of cassis, menthol and eucalyptus, all given a sheen of creamy oak (a combination of French and American oak barrels was used to mature the wine). But this is no ‘oak bomb’: there’s lovely freshness and a hint of Cabernet green too – a hint of olive and fragrant herbs. It delivers something the same on the palate, with abundant blackcurrant fullness, a smoky layer, and depth, body and structure. But very nice acidity and tight tannins give it class – and a decade of cellaring potential.”

Price: £15.99, selected Waitrose and Waitrose Cellar online.

Ramón Bilbao Rioja Single Vineyard 2012, Spain

The best “fruity wines for autumn” were recommended by Jamie Goode writing in The Express this week, recommending this Rioja from Ramón Bilbao.

He said: “With the transition from summer to autumn, it’s time to switch from the rosés, crisp unoaked whites and lighter reds to wines with a bit more body and warmth. There’s still room for variety, of course, but this week’s magnificent seven represent a good balance of quality wines that will see you through the colder weather.”

Of this example he said: “This Rioja is a little more modern in style than some, with vivid fruit alongside spicy oak. It’s a direct, full-flavoured wine, with notes of bright raspberries and cherries.”

Price: £9.99, Majestic

Burebista Shiraz Feteasca Neagra 2013, Romania

This Romanian wine was another top autumnal pick from Goode.

He said: “Blending international grape Shiraz with the local Feteasca Neagra has produced a lovely red, showing blackberry and ripe cherries. It’s smooth and sweet but balanced.”

Price: £8.49,

2011 Dourthe No 1 Bordeaux Rouge, France

“Anyone seeking an inexpensive introduction to claret should start here”, said Brian Elliott of this Bordeaux in The Scotsman.

He said: “On display are all the genre’s typical autumnal nose, richness, gentle spices and soft but mildly chewy tannins. Nevertheless, those elements are reinforced by merlot-derived cherry flavours and restrained acidity with cabernet’s blackcurrant and chocolate touches.”

Price: £8.50, The Wine Society

Bruno Murciano La Malkerida 2012, Utiel Requena, Spain

The lesser-known Spanish Bobal grape was highlighted by Victoria Moore writing in The Telegraph, with this example from Bruno Murciano proving a hit.

She said:”Vinoteca is the wine-bar-cum-shop-cum-restaurant that has helped to revolutionise London drinking. All the wines on its list are available to take away. This is a soft, silky, brambly red made from the unfashionable Bobal grape by Bruno Murciano, a former Ritz sommelier who is determined to show Bobal is better than everyone thinks.”

Price: £12.50, Vinoteca

Mont Rocher Viognier IGP pays d’Herault 2013, France

Another of Moore’s recommendations was for this French Viognier which she said was “all peaches and buxom perfume”.

She said: “It’s become a cliché to say that any cheap Viognier is like a “mini-Condrieu” but this one actually is, not least because it’s not just about being floaty and Galadriel-like, all peaches and buxom perfume. This has some structure and a bit of oak (staves, but I forgive it) which makes it feel more serious. I found it in the Riverside Studios down the road from me.”

Price: £8.70, Highbury Vintners, £7.99, The Solent Cellar.

Viña Ventisquero Grey Pinot Noir, Leyda 2012, Chile

David Williams, writing in The Guardian, pointed his readers toward Chile’s Leyda Valley calling Grey, from Viña Ventisquero, a “highly accomplished alternative” to the company’s upcoming high altitude Tara wine range.

He said: “For all their success with the Central Valley assembly line, the Chileans know that it’s the more challenging conditions by the coasts, in the mountains, and in the unchartered areas of the far north and south that offer the best chance of greatness. Viña Ventisquero has taken the idea to extremes with its Tara range from the country’s most northerly vineyards in Huasco in the Atacama Desert. The surprisingly cool climate and complex soils produce thrillingly distinctive wines that are light in alcohol, edgy in acidity, chewy in texture, and salty in flavour. A Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir and a Syrah-based red will soon be available from The Wine Treasury at upwards of £30 a pop. In the meantime, the same company’s lush, fragrant pinot from coastal Leyda Valley is a highly accomplished alternative.”

Price: £12.50, The City Beverage Company 

De Martino Legado Reserva Chardonnay, Limarí, Chile 2011

Finally Williams, sticking in Chile, recommended this Chardonnay produced by the family-run De Martino which Williams said was a company “pushing the boundaries to exhilarating effect.”

He said: The Viejas Tinajas wines the company makes in clay amphorae (rather than the usual oak barrel or concrete or stainless steel tank) in the southern region of Itata (a white Muscat 2012 and a red Cinsault 2013, both from Les Caves) have an irresistible, unforced vitality to them that is quite unlike anything else in Chile. But the more conventionally made wines are no less impressive, from the deep, dense Rhône-like spice, meat and dark fruit of the Single Vineyard Syrah Alto Los Toros 2011 (£23.99, Smiling Grape) from northerly Elquí, to the crystalline Legado Chardonnay from the breezy Limarí Valley a little further south.”

Price: £11, Oddbins



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